Rauscher, Joseph Othmar von

views updated


Cardinal, archbishop of Vienna; b. Vienna, Oct. 6, 1797; d. Vienna, Nov. 24, 1875. After studying philosophy, theology, and law at Vienna, he was ordained in 1823. In 1825 he became professor of theology in Salzburg, and in 1832, titular abbot and director of the Oriental Academy in Vienna and adviser for religious affairs to the government. In this capacity he negotiated, at the direction of Emperor Francis II, the conditions under which the Jesuits were permitted to work in Austria. In 1844 he taught philosophy to the later Emperor Francis Joseph I and his brothers. In 1849 he became prince bishop of Seckau and played an important role in the negotiations between the Austrian episcopate and the government concerning the abolition of josephinism. He spent two years as the emperor's representative negotiating with the papal nuncio Michele Viale-Prelà the concordat signed on Aug. 18, 1855. Rauscher became prince bishop of Vienna (1853) and cardinal (1855). Later he successfully defended the concordat against the attacks of liberalism in the press and Reichstag, even though his methods were not always approved by other bishops. At vatican council i he disapproved the definition of papal infallibility as inopportune, and he also opposed the doctrine itself. When his efforts to prevent the definition failed, he left Rome before the final voting, but by Aug. 8, 1870, he published the decree in his archdiocese.

Bibliography: c. wolfsgruber, Joseph Othmar Cardinal Rauscher (Freiburg 1888); The Catholic Encyclopedia, c. g. herbermann, ed., 16 v. (New York 190714) 12:660662. e. c. butler, The Vatican Council, 2 v. (New York 1930). É amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, 15 v. (Paris 190350) 13.2:17871789. f. engel-janosi, Österreich und der Vatikan, 18461918, 2 v. (Graz 195860) v. 1.

[f. maass]